Plain Aviation

the life of a planespotter and true avgeek

Category: Aviation Insight (page 1 of 2)

EVA Air’s Sketchy Operations During Typhoon Megi

On September the 27th, Typhoon Megi struck Taiwan and caused most flights in and out of Taipei Taoyuan (TPE) and Songshan (TSA) airports to be cancelled. Taiwanese EVA Air, on the other hand, decided to brave the storm. On that day, EVA Air had 45 flights scheduled to land at Taipei, 30 of which were able to successfully land (including those that diverted and refuelled before carrying on to Taipei the same day). Winds were reported to be at around 30 knots gusting to 41, with a maximum of 50 knots gusting to more than 70. While there are no real headwind limits for landing, typical crosswind limits are around 35 knots. Passengers on board the EVA Air flights experienced really bad turbulence, with some of the reportedly having used their phones to type their wills. Not sure if this is true or just a really big hyperbole, but it goes to show how bad it must’ve been and also how scared people generally are of flying.

How the DC-10’s Faulty Cargo Door Design Killed 346

Last night, as per my typical Friday night chill-out routine, I watched an episode of the popular television series Air Crash Investigation. Yes I know this is not really what normal people do with their Friday nights, but who said avgeeks are normal people. This week’s episode centered on Turkish Airlines Flight 981 and American Airlines Flight 96, both of which were operated by the McDonnell Douglas DC-10.

How Cargo is Saving the Boeing 747

A topic that can get any planespotter or aviation enthusiast to tear up on the spot is the retirement of the Boeing 747. Seriously, movie studios should consider getting planespotters to act in roles where crying is needed. It’ll be much more genuine that some of the crappy fake crying that we see in movies. What was once comparable to a queen on her throne is now more or less a prisoner of war. The Boeing 747 has reached the end of its lifespan as airlines are switching over to more efficient twinjets or perhaps the Airbus A380. The 747-8 remains an overall failure, while earlier versions such as the 747-400 are being phased out due to their age.

Why airfare is so expensive

Recently, I watched a short 10 minute educational video on YouTube explaining why airfare is as expensive as it is. Here is the link to it in case you want to watch it. In short, the video uses an example of an Airbus A320 fully loaded from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) just south of Washington D.C. to illustrate the costs that go into a commercial flight. The video makes the conservative consumption that the aircraft is fully loaded with 154 passengers (which is rarely the case) and that each ticket for the flight costs around 80 dollars (which is what they were selling for online).

FlyDubai crash: Pilot error to blame

The incident aircraft, a FlyDubai Boeing 737-800 (A6-FDN). Photo by Bruno Geiger CC 2.0

On the 18th of March this year, a FlyDubai Boeing 737-800 (registration A6-FDN) operating flight FZ981 with 55 passengers and 7 crew members crashed during landing phase at Rostov-on-Don airport in eastern Russia. The aircraft was initiating a go-around due to stormy conditions when it entered a dive and impacted the ground, instantly killing all on board. As the flight data recorders did not indicate any sort of mechanical failure and the weather was deemed not enough to be the sole cause of the crash, investigators speculated that pilot error was to blame for the crash.

Difference Between the Boeing 767 and 777

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Condor Boeing 767-300ER. Photo by Oliver Holzbauer CC 2.0

Back in the day when I first started looking at planes I had the hardest time distinguishing between the Boeing 767 and 777 because they just looked so similar to me. When people try plane spotting for the first time, they typically have to rely on very concrete and noticeable features of each aircraft to distinguish them from others (for example the number of engines or doors present) before they are able get a feel for each aircraft and recognize them based off

Are airplanes getting smaller?

After decades of evolution in aircraft technology that have led the aviation industry from the Wright brothers’ first prototype aircraft to the Airbus A380, it’s hard to imagine that in recent years aircraft have actually been shrinking in size. Orders for the Airbus  A380 have been recently been dwindling; Boeing cut production of the 747-8 to only 6 frames per year; and the Boeing 747-400 is currently in the

Jet fuel and aviation – all you need to know

jet fuel texaco aviation tanker canadian pacific

Texaco Aviation Fuel Tanker – Photo by Flickr user Canadian Pacific CC 2.0

Have you ever stopped and wondered about the strange substance we call jet fuel that powers the airplanes you fly on? Perhaps you’re even curious about the nitty-gritty aspects of it, such as what is it made of, how much of it is carried on board every flight, where it is stored, and perhaps how much of it is burned every flight. Look no further, as I’m about to show you all there is to know about jet fuel.

1. What is jet fuel, and what is it made of?

Jet fuel is a specific type of fuel that has been designed to be

What is a trijet in airliner terms?

A private Boeing 727 trijet. Photo by Andrew W. Sieber CC 2.0

As you can probably tell already, the term trijet refers to any commercial jetliner with three engines. Normally they either have all three engines mounted aft of the cabin and near the tail as seen on the Boeing 727, or two mounted on the wings and the third mounted at the tail as seen on the McDonnell Douglas MD-11. One common feature of all trijets is that their third engine is always going to be embedded inside the vertical stabilizer to ensure symmetrical thrust output. While this feature increases the difficulty of design, production, and maintenance, the cost-savings of operating trijets over four-engined airliners is definitely worth it.

Pros and Cons of planes with rear-mounted engines

A Delta Connection Bombardier CRJ-900 with two rear-mounted engines. Photo by Andrew Cohen CC 2.0

Ever noticed that some airliners have a sleek-looking T-tail and engines mounted at the rear? This design is found most commonly on smaller aircraft such as regional and private jets. Some people hate it, while others think it looks sleek and stylish. Now you may be wondering why some aircraft have engines at the back and others don’t. There are actually several reasons why aircraft manufacturers would place engines at the rear on aircraft like the Boeing 717, 727, McDonnell Douglas MD-80, and Bombardier CRJ series to name a few.

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